DSC Communications, Inc. vs. Evan Brown
Cause No. 199-596-97
Pending in the 219th District Court, Collin County, Texas
DSC claims that Mr. Brown's "idea" belongs to DSC because Mr. Brown was working for DSC at the time Mr. Brown solved the last piece of his "idea". Mr. Brown had been working on this "idea" since 1975, 12 years before Mr. Brown even became an employee of DSC.
DSC claims that this is not a landmark case and that there is a well developed body of law covering such situations. We believe the situation is different in this case because Evan Brown's "idea" existed only in his mind. The only well developed body of law covers ideas that have either been written down or exist in some other tangible form.
Mr. Brown's job at DSC was to provide technical support for the Motorola Cellular Division software testing group. Mr. Brown's job at DSC at the time he was fired, was not software development or software reverse engineering.
The "idea" that Mr. Brown has is for an automated computer conversion of machine executable binary code into portable high level programming source code.
The usefulness of the "idea" is to help companies that have old computer programs where the original source code has been lost or the cost to re-write these programs for modern computers is too expensive. Most large businesses have computer programs that have been developed over the past 30 years that will only run on big mainframe computers. Many of these companies would like to run their computer programs on new inexpensive PCs and/or workstations but do not have the resources to manually convert these old computer programs.
Stubborn Texan Holds His Ground
DSC, on the other hand, says that Brown signed an agreement at the time of his employment giving the company sole ownership of his ideas. The actual agreement, signed shortly after Brown came on board in April 1987, granted DSC rights to anything invented by Brown during his course of work with the telecommunications computer company.
Pointing out that his conversion concept was "80 percent complete" before he joined DSC, Brown says he first began thinking of the idea while visiting a friend in El Paso in 1975. Years later, in 1996, Brown went to his employers and asked their permission to develop the idea on his own. DSC then offered Brown two million dollars in exchange for the concept. The following year, as discussions continued, DSC decided that they owned the idea anyway and demanded that Brown produce it and turn it over to them.
For more information on Evan Brown click here.